Bezique was invented in the early 19th century in France and became one of the most popular card games in Europe by the early 20th century. It was later introduced into America and inspired the creation of Pinochle, which is very similar in the way that it is played.
The name is thought to have originated from the Persian word “Bazi”, meaning game.
How to Play Bezique?
Bezique is a card game for two people.
It requires two decks of cards with the 2’s to the 6’s of all suits removed from each deck, leaving behind the 7’s to the Aces only. This will leave 2 sets of the A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of each suit remaining.
A pen and paper are also required for scoring purposes.
Each player will cut the deck and the one who draws the highest card deals.
The dealer will then deal out 3 cards to their opponent and 3 cards to themselves, 2 cards to their opponent and 2 to themselves, and then another batch of 3 cards to each, resulting in 8 cards total being dealt to each player.
The next card in the deck is placed face upwards between them and this card establishes the trump suit. If this card is a 7, the dealer automatically receives a score of 10 points.
The remaining cards in the deck are placed face down and are known as the stock.
Each player, beginning with the non-dealer, will then take turns playing any card of their choice. They do not have to follow the trump suit.
The winner of each trick (the person who plays the higher card of the same suit or any card of the trump suit, if the starting card was not a trump suit) will then remove the discarded cards and place them face down, and off to the side.
These cards will not be used again until the end of the game, where they will be tallied up for scoring purposes.
After a trick has been won, and before picking up a card from the stockpile, the winner of that trick may play a “meld” (meld combinations are seen in the table below).
The meld score is written down immediately and these cards are kept face up on the table in front of the player and are still considered part of their 8-card hand until used in a future trick.
If a 7 of trump is played, a score of 10 points is recorded and it can then be swapped for the upturned trump card.
Both players, starting with the winner of the trick, take a card from the stock and the winner of that trick will play the next round first.
Once there is only 1 card remaining in the stock, the winner of the last trick will pick it up and the loser will pick up the upturned trump card.
The winner will play a card and their opponent must play either a higher card of the same suit or a card of the trump suit to win the trick. If they cannot do this then they may play any card and lose that trick.
Melds are not allowed to be declared in these final rounds. The winner of the final trick receives 10 points.
After the final cards are played, the players now add up all of their “Brisques”, from the cards that they have collected throughout the game from all of the tricks they have won.
All the Aces and Tens are worth 10 points each, and these points are added to the previous scores already accumulated from the melds that were created throughout the game.
Rounds of Bezique continue to be played until a player reaches 1000 points and is declared the winner.
The player who cuts the highest card deals and the other player takes their turn first.
Only 8 cards are allowed to be in a player’s hand at one time. If they have incorrectly picked up more than 8 cards, they must award 100 points to their opponent.
If a player forgets to draw a new card from the stock after a trick, they must award 10 points to their opponent.
If two cards of the same rank are played, the trick is awarded to the first player.
Cards that have been previously declared as melds may be used again in another meld as long as it is of higher point value. It cannot be used again in the same meld combination or in a lesser value combination.
Scoring & Points
Marriage (a king and queen of the same suit, excluding the trump suit)|
Royal Marriage (a king and queen of the trump suit)|
Sequence (Ace through Jack in trump suit)|
Bezique (Queen of Spades and Jack of Diamonds)|
Double Bezique (2 Queen of Spades and 2 Jack of Diamonds)|
Any four Aces|
Any four Kings|
Any four Queens|
Any four Jacks|
Examples of the melds in the Bezique card game are as follows:
K♣ Q♣ , K♥ Q♥ , K♦ Q♦ , K♠ Q♠|
As above in the designated trump suit|
A, K , Q, J in the designated trump suit|
Q♠ & J♦|
Q♠, Q♠, J♦, J♦|
Any four Acces|
A, A, A, A of any suit ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦|
Any four Kings|
K, K, K, K of any suit ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦|
Any four Quens|
Q, Q, Q, Q of any suit ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦|
Any four Jacks|
J, J, J, J of any suit ♣ ♠ ♥ ♦|
Strategy and How to Win
The Bezique is a game of memory and strategy. To improve your chances of beating your opponent follow these simple tips:
Memorize the melds and get familiar with what they look like. Bezique is a game of points so the more melds you can make, the more points you will score.
Keep your cards arranged in your hand based on rank and keep all of the trump-suited cards together. This will make it easier to see which card should be played and will make identifying a meld much easier.
Remember to swap out your trump 7-card whenever possible, this gives you an extra 10 points over your opponent
Don’t forget to reuse your meld cards that are face up on the table in front of you. These cards can be used to create new melds of higher point value.
Don’t get any penalties. Never have more than 8 cards in your hand and never forget to draw a new card from the stock after a trick. These errors could cost you points.
Watch your opponent for penalties. If you see them with more than 8 cards or if they forget to draw a new card, make sure you score yourself accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many decks of cards are used in Bezique?
Two decks of cards are required to play the game. The 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 cards of all suits are removed from both decks and these two decks are shuffled together.
Can more than two players play Bezique?
In the traditional version there can only be 2 players. There are other versions of the game, however, that allow for more players such as Rubicon Bezique, for 4 people, and Chinese Bezique, for 6.
How many points are required to win Bezique?
Traditionally, the Bezique card game is played until the first player reaches 1000 points and is declared the winner.
If, however, you desire a shorter or longer duration of play, a smaller or larger point goal can be agreed upon before beginning.
What is a “Brisque” and a “Meld”?
A meld is a specified combination of cards that are worth points and can be played by the winner of a trick.
The Brisque cards are the Aces and Tens that have been collected by a player in all of the tricks that they have won throughout the game. Each of these cards is worth 10 points and they are added up at the end of a round and added to each player’s score.